Young starter reaps educational rewards

05 August 2014

Jessica Pratt

Twenty-year-old Sarah-Jane Robinson graduates from UCLan and lands interpreter’s job

A Dumfries student has become one of the youngest ever graduates from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Originally from New Zealand, Sarah-Jane Robinson graduated from the BA (Hons) British Sign Language and Deaf Studies course just 24 days after her 20th birthday.

Sarah-Jane, known to all as Kiwi, became deaf when she was 10-years-old and instantly developed a keen interest in lip reading, picking up the art in no time.

She said: “I studied at Wallace Hall Academy in Dumfries but once I turned 16 near the end of fifth year, I discovered that the school had no subjects that I could take. My mum jokingly suggested that I apply to university to study British Sign Language so on a whim, I did. I left school and was delighted to be offered a place at UCLan, one of the few universities in the UK that offer BSL as a course.”

“It was a big step up but the help and support I received from everyone at UCLan was fantastic.”

After being offered a place on the undergraduate programme, Sarah-Jane began the course aged 17 and made the move to Preston.

She commented: “I began learning immediately and felt overwhelmed at all the knowledge I gained about the Deaf community and sign language whilst studying the course. I’d never even met a Deaf sign language user before - there is only a handful in Dumfries, but I’d never had the chance to communicate with them directly. This course gave me the opportunity to meet other people like me and it was definitely a big learning curve for me to discover so much I didn’t know already.

“It was a big step up but the help and support I received from everyone at UCLan was fantastic, they recognised that I was a young student and helped me cope with becoming independent, adapting to university life, and also my studies.”

She graduated with a 2:1 and was delighted to be one of the youngest to graduate at Preston’s Guild Hall. She has now secured temporary employment as a British Sign Language/English interpreter back home in the Dumfries and Galloway area.